Dirk Bertels

The greatest malfunction of spirit
is to believe things (Louis Pasteur)

Piano Groove Tutor

Last updated 20 February 2011


The latest version of the Piano Groove Tutor, Version 0.7 is out now.

The major new changes are lockable volume and tempo settings and capability to create your own sessions. To download and read more about it go to the Piano Groove Tutor v0.7 page.

Version 0.5 discussed on this page has become obsolete and will no longer be downloadable. The sessions have also become obsolete because the version 0.7 sessions use a slightly different format. If you previously downloaded the v 0.5 sessions they should still work in version 0.7 (though I made a few minor changes to some of them). Playing the new sessions in version 0.5 also works but with a few hick-ups, such as the metronome tracks not playing and some instruments not being on the right channel.

I dedicated a separate page to the sessions (in their new format). That's were all the newly published sessions will appear from now on. You can view the Piano Groove Tutor Sessions here.

The information relevant to this version only, as well as the forum entries will still be available here. All the chapters also relevant to v 0.7 have now moved to the Piano Groove Tutor v0.7 page.

Piano Groove Tutor version 0.5

Other pages available on this topic are:

Piano Groove Tutor version 0.5


The main advantage of this version is that you can add new sessions to it - something you can't do with the earlier Webstart version.

  • Java Jar executable stand-alone version suiting most platforms.
  • Expandable - newly available sessions can simply be added to the application's Sessions folder.
  • Loop points can be set on any beat boundary.
  • Volume control added.
  • Application automatically loads sessions - no need to navigate to folders.
  • The info box displays valuable information on your systems MIDI capabilities at start up.
  • Application window size scaled to your system's resolution.
  • Progress units displayed in beats instead of 'ticks'

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  • From: Johannes
  • Date: 2009-01-25 09:29:28
looks really great. But doesnt play any audio on my system. the info text says:
Device 0: Microsoft MIDI-Mapper - false
Device 1: Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth - false
FOUND SEQUENCER: Device 2: Real Time Sequencer - false
FOUND SYNTH: Device 3: Java Sound Synthesizer - false

But the webstart version always had worked. Any idea?

Another suggestion is to store the last window position. my task bar is on the top and i have to move the tutor window down every time i start it.


  • From: Dirk
  • Date: 2009-01-25 21:44:45
From the infotext, everything is right - both your system's synthesizer and sequencer are available and not used by any other programs (false). The difference with this version and the webstart one is that the webstart uses the default synth and this one uses the last one it finds, so maybe your webstart version uses the microsoft synth - did you check your java JRE has a soundbank?

Your suggestion has been taken on board, I plan to store midi settings in the next version anyway, because now they reset each time you change groove.

  • From: Johannes
  • Date: 2009-01-25 22:46:30
Okay, this one is solved. had two java installation, one without the soundbank.

In some midi files from Jonathon the right hand is one octave higher than intended. Notation is mostly one octave higher than played.

  • From: Dirk
  • Date: 2009-01-25 23:46:24
Regarding the notation in the Piano Groove Tutor - it is always set in the register where it is most convenient to read. When it ends up in a different register, it is indicated with an '8' above or below the clef.

  • From: Johannes
  • Date: 2009-01-26 09:30:03
Hi, let me clarify this with an Example: groove 02 in Funk Jonathon I.
If i compare it to the youtube tutorial where JOnathon plays this, the sound in the tutor is on octave too high.
Not really important, but it sounds much better. I didn't want you to change it, but just to be aware of it.


  • From: Dirk
  • Date: 2009-01-29 00:51:45
Oh yes, I've forgotten about that - I play some of the bass lines higher up because my keys don't go that low - and also, other lines I changed register because it sounded better that way on my digital piano.

  • From: florence
  • Date: 2009-02-14 20:59:11
thanks.hope u have a nice day

  • From: Daniel
  • Date: 2009-04-14 15:57:43
Amazing program, and option to learn Jonathons grooves aswell.
I am in heaven:)

  • From: Roy
  • Date: 2009-04-19 14:35:27
Fantastic stuff! A nice program with just the right tools (and great choice of grooves to learn) It'll take me ages to master just a few of these, but I'm already looking forward to more.

  • From: Dmitry
  • Date: 2009-04-24 07:10:41
Thank you so much)Waiting for new sessions!

  • From: laurenced holley
  • Date: 2009-05-31 04:11:10
very nice program !!! please notify me of updates and thanks for excellent learning aid

  • From: Kent
  • Date: 2009-06-07 12:04:32
Awesome job dude (sorry to sound like a surfer).

I appreciate your efforts, and those of Jonathon.

Please add me to list of notifies.


  • From: André
  • Date: 2009-07-11 12:03:10
Hello Dirk,

your groove tutor (the webstart version) is absoulutely great!!
now I'm trying to get the new one but there is a problem with the sessions:
the program only shows the 3 pre-installed sessions (although I've downloaded the others too and added them to the sessions folder) - but if I click one of the sessions it won't show me its single grooves.
Can you please tell me what I'm doing wrong?
Kind regards from austria,

  • From: Dirk
  • Date: 2009-07-14 03:13:43
Glad you like the software. One of the reasons I implemented this standalone version is that it's difficult to add sessions to the webstart version (the webstart version needs to be much more secure than an installed version). I'm just saying that because I didn't make this point very clear in these pages.

Assuming you've installed this new standalone version, there's no reason it shouldn't load the grooves in each session.

Just to be clear I need to know:
1: Does the application work properly without the new sessions added?
2 - Can you see all the sessions in the combobox once you added the jar files to the sessions folder (you'll need to restart the application in order to see all the sessions).
3 - Do any error messages occur in the info box?

  • From: Andre
  • Date: 2009-07-14 12:42:19
A few minutes ago I just removed the whole groove tutor folder and downloaded it once again ... and suddenly it worked!!

I don't know why it didn't work all the time before, but who cares?! :)
I just had to download the soundbank as well -

Thanks for your help and for sharing this great program with us!!

  • From: Viet To
  • Date: 2009-08-11 05:31:37
Hello Dirk,

Please notify me for future updates of the tutor program. Thanks very much.


Viet To

  • From: Shasta
  • Date: 2009-08-23 11:38:10
Hello, great program! How do I get the - New Sessions by Jonathon Wilson to be added to the- Piano Groove Tutor with the other sessions. Can you please tell me what I'm doing wrong?



  • From: Dirk
  • Date: 2009-08-24 01:49:09
Hi Shasta
I assume that you have the 0.5 version (not the webstart one because you can't add sessions to that).
Once you've downloaded a session, you will find that it is a file that ends with a '.jar' extension. All you need to do is to find the dbTutor application folders. One folder is called 'sessions'. Just stick the downloaded jar file into that (with the other jar files that are already there). Then restart the application, it should recognize the extra session(s).
Let me know how you go.

  • From: shasta
  • Date: 2009-08-25 07:05:35
hello, yes I have the 0.5 version, the sessions I downloaded from site are real player MIDI Audio files and PGN IMAGE for notations. These files do not look like the Jar file that came with your program. the are the other files I download: Salsa Tunes II,Funk Jonathon F,Funk Jonathon G,Funk Jonathon II,Salsa Tunes I. none is working with the program and they are not the jar file.


  • From: Dirk
  • Date: 2009-08-26 00:36:11
Hi Shasta,
Each new session you download is a jar file. This jar file does contain midi and png files, but the jar file should not be unzipped. All you need to do is to stick the jar file into the 'sessions' folder.

  • From: shasta
  • Date: 2009-08-29 09:19:35
when I download the sessions the image looks like a zip folder image instead of the Jar image like the three default sessions that comes with the program when downloaded. Why is that?

  • From: Dirk
  • Date: 2009-08-30 00:51:50
Firstly, you should really be using the word 'file' instead of 'image'. Although there are different uses for the word 'image', in this context we're talking about 'files' which is a more generic term of 'a bunch of data'.

If the 'hide extensions for known file types' option in start -> folder options -> view is NOT ticked, you should see that both the sessions that came with the application and new sessions are jar files (they end with a .jar extension).

Confusingly, a jar file can be lot of things: an executable, a compressed data file (like zip), or simply a storage for data.
The session files are of the latter type; they store both midi and image files for a whole session. The actual program (executable) is of the first type.

For some reason, your system sees the jar files in the sessions that came with the application differently than it sees the new session files - even though they both are of exactly the same type, i.e. they both are storages for midi files and image files.

If your program doesn't recognise the newly downloaded sessions it might be that you need to download them again (one by one).

  • From: shast
  • Date: 2009-08-30 20:21:01
Thanks Dirk for your patience, I have downloaded these session one at a time already. Do you mean to download. Yes the default sesisson are the an executable-jar files,but the new sessions file downloads as File Folder-type, instead of Executable Jar File that can be open via Java(TM) Platform SE. When down loading the sessions I choose save to session folder, but it do not download as a executable-jar files. i.e., I download to C:\Program Files\Piano Groove Tutor\PianoGroove and C:\Program Files\Piano Groove Tutor\PianoGrooveTutor\sessions\Funk Grooves.zip. That is what it read in properties. Do I need to download the Latest version: Piano Groove Tutor version 0.5 again?

I hope we can find a solution,


  • From: Dirk
  • Date: 2009-08-31 02:01:29
Hi Shast
The default session files are not executables - they are exactly of the same type as the new sessions (see my previous comment), i.e. they are storage files for data, each one containing score images and midi files.

It may be easier to go through the whole process:
1 - Delete all files related to the piano groove tutor
2 - Download the whole program again from the "Downloading and starting the Piano Groove Tutor" chapter above.
3 - UNZIP it to a suitable location (in 'Program Files')
Now you have 2 folders: "images" and "sessions" and the executable jar file. You'll notice that the sessions folders contains 3 jar files.
4 - Download the new sessions, they are just more jar files, DON'T unzip them, and stick them in the "sessions" folder with the other jar files.
5 - Create a link to the executable jar file on your desktop and start the application from there.

Hope that makes it clear ...

  • From: Larry
  • Date: 2009-09-03 23:08:12

Yee Ha! Don't know if you remember, but many months ago I tried installing Piano Tutor on my iMac with no luck. OS X was only available with JRE 1.5 and that didn't work. I just installed Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) on my machine and now Piano Tutor works like a champ.
I haven't specifically checked, but Snow Leopard must have finally moved to JRE 1.6.



  • From: Dirk
  • Date: 2009-09-04 10:44:44
Thanks for letting us know Larry - "Snow Leopard" ... MAC does come up with some good names.

  • From: Matias
  • Date: 2009-10-28 02:52:58
Hello Dirk!
I think your software is great!. I am a Jazz Pianist and I've been playing piano for 18 years. This is the most practical and efective software I've ever known for the daily practice.
Is there any possibility of making my own sessions, creating the jar files with my own midi and pgn files?

Thanks for your patience and for sharing it.


  • From: Dirk
  • Date: 2009-10-28 07:09:20
Thanks for that - I'm currently trying to implement score manipulation in java (so I don't need images). The advange would be that I can do key changes etc - but it's proven quite difficult in java.

Yes you can make your own jar files - I will need to write step by step instructions for that because the midi files need to be formatted in a particular way. I will notify you when this is done (shouldn't take too long).

Comments like yours encourage me to do more work on this application -

  • From: pound
  • Date: 2009-11-17 11:53:36
Thank you for music

  • From: Schmurze
  • Date: 2009-11-23 07:23:14
Hello, just to thank you for this cool software and cool salsa stuff =)

The soft is simple and intuitive =)

  • From: ik
  • Date: 2009-12-18 04:35:05
i luv your software

  • From: jole
  • Date: 2010-02-12 10:27:37
hi, thank you for that great tool - it makes it so much easier to learn all this fast funk stuff, i love it!
just as an inspiration - a pause button would make it even more simple

great stuff!!:)

  • From: Jaap
  • Date: 2010-02-20 23:01:50
Hello Dirk,

thank you for your great effort, must have been an awful lot of work.
As a positive input, i agree with Jole to enhance an update of this tool with a pause button, and, well, maybe some more 'How to play a funk groove I' licks?

Dank! Jaap

  • From: pitre
  • Date: 2010-08-11 18:28:09
very best programm
thanks for your adaptation

  • From: Nicola
  • Date: 2010-10-23 11:36:18
Thank you for your cool software. Please notify me, when you got new stuff .... :o)

  • From: costel
  • Date: 2010-11-14 14:36:05
Thank you for your cool software!Waiting for new sessions.

  • From: Guillaume
  • Date: 2010-11-23 21:06:49
Dirk -your programme sounds amazing and am very eager to try it.

However am having a little bit of an issue. I downloaded the latest version and have extracted. Sys requirements are ok ("false") and soundbank appear in the drop down on the top...

so far so good. However when I select a soundbank and then hit 'play', the info box at the bottom displays the following message in red "NO GROOVE SELECTED!"....

Not sure why that is the case -and nobody seems to have had that problem before?

Any ideas? Hope all is well...

  • From: Guillaume
  • Date: 2010-11-23 21:46:34
Hello Dirk -further to the message above (and if it can help)

- I am using Vista
- the loop settings cannot be changed (I can just use that slide feature thing, but the little arrows that would allow me to input say 1.1 or 1.4 are greyed out)
- Tempo slide can be used but value on the right is stuck on 000.

I think this basically means the JAR files are not loading properly? I have installed the latest version of Java... what is going wrong?

Thanks again :)

  • From: Dirk
  • Date: 2010-11-23 23:44:27
Hi Guillaume, once you select a groove bank at the top left, you have to select a groove in the 'grooves' list. Hope that was the problem ... good luck!

  • From: Guillaume
  • Date: 2010-11-24 00:00:28
Hi Dirk -thanks for the fast reply :-)

Unfortunately I did select a groove in the 'grooves' list by double clicking on for example "groove 16 var 02".

The groove picture loads up fine... but then when I try to play it the information box simply states 'NO GROOVE SELECTED' ...?

I will send a printscreen to your email address if that can help.

Regards and once again can't wait to get your programme to work.

  • From: Dirk
  • Date: 2010-11-24 01:18:53
HM haven't had that problem yet - I tried this on Vista and seem to have no problems.

Before looking further we should negate download data error. Would be a good idea to download it again and see if you get the same error after unzipping and starting it.

If it still exists, can you copy and paste me the information in the info box you get at startup.

  • From: Guillaume
  • Date: 2010-11-24 08:25:32
Hello Dirk -thanks for your patience. The information I get in the info box upon startup is as follows:


Screen Width: 1366
Screen Height: 768

Device 0: Microsoft MIDI Mapper - false
Device 1: Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth - false
FOUND SEQUENCER: Device 2: Real Time Sequencer - false
FOUND SYNTH: Device 3: Java Sound Synthesizer - false


I have already tried to re-install the programme a couple of times. The extractor I used is the default one on Windows Vista. Should I use another one instead?

Regards and talk to you soon Dirk,

  • From: Dirk
  • Date: 2010-11-25 05:31:47
That all looks good. I think what's happening is that as soon as you select a groove, the program writes a file into the folder the executable jar file resides in, called 'filename' (I'll have to look up what that was all about). Just look if that file appears. If not, you have access issues - which being Vista is not hard to imagine. You may need to change the properties of that folder to make sure you can write files into it. Being Vista, you may also need to change your security settings.

  • From: Guillaume
  • Date: 2010-11-25 10:20:00
Dirk I think you are absolutely right.

I downloaded winzip fearing the issue had something to do with the windows default extractor and initially the programme refused to extract due to a Vista access issue. Don't know exactly what I did but after a couple of manipulations I managed to install it and that 'filename' document is now appearing. The grooves are loading properly and I can play them too! ;-)

Am thinking alot of people would be having this problem with Vista...? Might be worth looking into.

The programme is great -keep up the good work!

Thanks for your help and do let me know when you're uploading new stuff!

  • From: dirk
  • Date: 2010-11-25 23:18:44
I actually wrote a new version of this software, one which allows you to create your own sessions, but got side tracked this year - hope to release it soon with some more sessions (once I'm back on track - possibly around the holidays).
Anyway, glad the issue is solved :)

  • From: Nuno
  • Date: 2011-02-16 01:47:25
Thank you for your cool software. Please notify me, when you got new stuff.

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